Information Leadership makes the most of SharePoint

Information Leadership makes the most of SharePoint

Reseller Snapshot: how one consulting company leveraged its IP to grow its Microsoft practice

Wellington-based consulting company Information Leadership didn’t plant itself in the reseller community in the usual way.

Instead, director Sarah Heal, and business partner Grant Margison wrote a book.

“Many years ago now we wrote a book called Flapping to Fly that has done pretty well in New Zealand,” says Heal. “I’ve been doing document and record management for many years and back in 2004 we saw a real hunger for ideas and ways to do things, the models we had down to paper.”

The duo trademarked the concepts from their book as iWorkplace, and eight years ago, set about implementing their approaches for customers across a “wide range of application”. Their work led them to become a Microsoft Elite Partner for Sharepoint implementation, an expertise around which the company has been able to build a growing education business for end users.

The organisation in early September began providing SharePoint Roadmap courses, seminars designed to give IT managers a framework for planning, budgeting and deploying enterprise content management solutions. While the seminars are built around the Microsoft product, Heal says only about 20 percent of the course is specific to SharePoint.

“We start with making a business case, and we cover the different approaches for enterprise wide deployment and the key activities,” Heal says. “We take the people through the technical, implementation, the design and we talk about what types of training is needed, the change management, and moving this all from project status to business as usual.”

The RoadMap is based on the company’s launch into its SharePoint practice in 2007 and past training engagements.

“We had a number of clients say 'look we trust you guys and we’re interested in this technology, can you give us advice on it',” says Heal. “So we sent some people to Australia and the US to build up their skills, and what has emerged is a successful Sharepoint practice.”

The company has since split its business into two divisions. The information management consulting work focuses on “classification taxonomy, records management and keeping knowledge management projects on the go”, which Heal says can be applied to any application deployment. The SharePoint practice falls under the rubric of knowledge management, which covers the Sharepoint implementation and training.

Information Leadeship today employs 18 people, with offices in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga and Christchurch, and has implemented its iWorkplace methodology in 150 organisations.

The first RoadMap, held in Wellington, saw a dozen people in attendance. The company plans three more in the near future based on the attendee’s response. Heal says the sessions help managers focus on specific applications see how their projects or implementations fit into the overall picture of their business.

While Information Leadership charges for training sessions, Heal says it is more imporant that the company publicises as much of its intellectual property as possible, which in turn can generate new business.

“Our workshops are about this general education driver,” Heal says. “Sometimes we get new business from them, sometimes not, but it’s about putting the models out there, having people use them and give us feedback.”

Heal suggests resellers of any stripe can build up their business by developing intellectual property in moving products and providing services.

“People need advice, still, about the packages out there and what suits their businesses best,” says Heal. “For resellers it’s about making sure what you’re selling fits the client needs, and wrapping the right services around it at the right level to be successful.”

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